February means the saddest excuse for a holiday, is upon us. Valentines day. If your heart is as jaded as mine, then perhaps you will enjoy my craft project for this Make Monday. A little black heart pin for you or one of your mutually bitter single friends.
I had a friend whos mom, would place them in a pie tin and they would expand. Being what I thought cinnamon buns should be, this was illusive concept to me. I only ate them once and have been trying to find ones that compare, ever since.
Heres what ruins anything that has ever come close to those homemade cinnamon buns that I have spent a lifetime dreaming about:
- the weak cinnamon to bun ratio
- not enough frosting
- raisins. gross. Why do people find the need to add pruned grapes to something so perfect?
I realized that in order to do something right, I would just have to do it myself. Baking with yeast is still pretty new to me, so I was a bit scared of it. My baker dad informed me that yeast and humans live comfortably in the same temperatures:
- If you add yeast to something that is about the same temperature as a warm bathtub, it’ll flourish.
- If you add it to a liquid that is too hot, you’ll kill it.
- If you add it to something cold, it’ll hold out on expanding until the temperature is warm enough or it’ll just take longer.
With this, I began skimming through cinnamon bun recipes, plucking what I liked about each one to concoct my idea of the perfect cinnamon bun.
It was so good, that my appetite almost didn’t give me time to take a good photo of the final product.
What you need for the dough:
- 1 package (0.25 oz.) yeast
- 1 1/4 cup milk, warmed
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 4-4 1/2 cups flour
For the Filling:
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
For the Icing:
- 1/2 package cream cheese, very soft
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla (I really love vanilla, though)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
start by warming up the milk
warm the milk on the lowest possible flame. My goal was to get it the milk to “bath water for a baby” warm.
Put the warm milk into your mixing bowl and add the packet of yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then stir together.
add 1/2 cup of sugar, 1tsp salt, vanilla, 2 eggs, and 6 tbs of butter. (fittingly, I made this treat onPaula Deens birthday)
and stir it all together.
stir in flour
I did it one cup at a time until it made a dough that was thick enough to kneed together (about 4 1/2 cups)
flour a surface, and kneed the dough until its smooth (I did it for about 5 minutes)
Lightly grease a bowl, place the ball of dough into it, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit in a warm place until it raises to twice its size. (The time it takes for it to rise depends on the temp of its surroundings. I put mine into the unheated oven because its still much warmer than my unheated apartment. About 2 hours later, the dough was huuuuuuge!)
While you wait, you can mix together the fixin’s for the filling.
Put the dough onto a floured surface, and roll it into a large rectangle.
spread on 2 tablespoons of butter
add the brown sugar mixture
roll it up
and cut about every 2 inches
butter up a pie tin (or two, in my case) or a baking dish and place the cinnamon rolls in it until the expand into the pan (about 40 minutes)
while waiting to them to look as squished as they do in the photo above, preheat your oven to 350. Pop them into the oven for about 30 minutes
or until they start getting brown on top.
beat together all of your frosting ingredients. Adding the sugar last and in small increments until you reach the amount of sweetness you want from it.
smoother your hot sweet buns (get your mind out of the gutter!)
Eat them until you fall into a sugar coma.
I suggest only serving them fresh. I got 9 buns out of this recipe and tried saving 4 (unfrosted) ones overnight, but by the next morning the bread pretty much absorbed the cinnamon swirl. Which was fine by me, since the bread aloe is AMAZING.I think I’ll make a loaf of it for french toast, next time.
all photos and illustrations were done by me
A while back, I promised to transport a pile of treats to a friend for his birthday. Now, if I were meeting up with someone for a cup of tea or a visit to grandmas I would bring something like biscuits or scones. But for a celebration you need icing!!! Unfortunately, getting anything frosted from point A to point B in mint condition is nearly impossible unless I plan on lugging some oddly shaped piece of Tupperware back home….a chore I am not fond of.
So I went on a hunt for a tasty transportable treat and stumbled upon this recipe for homemade Oreos! I’m not a huge fan of Oreos, but these cookies have changed my mind. They were so fun, quick, and easy to make that I want to bake them all of the time.
For the cookies, you’ll need:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup room-temperature, unsalted butter
- 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and follow these directions:
stir together all of your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar)
Then add in butter. Mix with mixer on low until it forms a dough.
Then add in the egg and continue mixing until a thick batter is formed.
Roll a rounded teaspoons worth of dough into a ball and place onto a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper
Lightly flatten the dough balls with the palm of your hand, so that they bake more evenly
Stick these suckers in the oven for 9 minutes.
Transfer them to a tray and let them cool while you make the icing!
For the icing, you’ll need:
- 1/4 cup of vegetable shortening (at room temp)
- 1/4 cup of unsalted butter (at room temp)
- 2 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
mix butter and shortening together on a low-speed
While mixing, slowly add in the sugar and vanilla.
Scoop the icing into a ziplock bag, and cut a little corner at the bottom of the bag to squeeze the icing out of. Or you could use a pastry bag, if you’re the pretentious baker type.
Find two cookies that are the same size and follow these photo directions (this is my favorite part!):
I think they’re best eaten at room temp, but if you plan on transporting them then I suggest sticking them in the refrigerator for a while so the icing can stiffen up for a short trip.
These things are so tasty, that it will make that box of Oreos want to find its favorite Elliot Smith album and a glass of milk to drown in.
All photos by: Chloe Rice
Special guest hand appearance by Laura